As something of a burlesque virgin, my experience with performances such as those featured in the dazzling Vanguard Burlesque has rarely extended beyond the confines of crowded queer bars dotted throughout Brisbane.
It was interesting then, to witness the cast of “Brisbane’s premier burlesque and variety event” perform in a space large enough to fit their overflowing charisma and allow them to dominate the audience’s attention with an hour of entrancing acts.
All of Vanguard’s talented and internationally celebrated stars put on brilliant performances that celebrated the titillating history of burlesque.
But it was Queens Ball Performer of the Year legend Kryptonite, ‘Drag Disrupter’ Ruby Slippers, and special guest and Las Vegas Burlesque Hall of Famer Lila Luxx, who stole the show with astounding and innovative numbers that had the audience screaming.
Although a fabulous and rowdy night, I couldn’t help but feel the slightest tinge of dislocation.
Longing to grab a drink between numbers or move about during the show, the large – and meagrely occupied – space of the Visy Theatre detracted somewhat from the intimacy between performer and audience that feels so palpable in more close-knit venues.
This is not to suggest the performers lacked such engagement, rather the constraints of the venue prevented you from fully losing yourself in the debauchery playing out.
Despite this sense of displacement, Vanguard Burlesque is a salaciously entertaining evening of grandeur and camp that will have you desperate for more.